Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Test Run

We've decided to travel more, and on that note we took a quick weekend trip to Asheville. We put a LOT of planning into it, and finally came up with this winning formula:
Make packing list, pack, and leave early in the morning.
Drive an hour or two to someplace fun for kids.
Play there for a couple hours, eat snack and then lunch, then go to the restroom.
Drive the rest of the way to where we're actually heading as the kids take their naps.
Spend afternoon/evening having fun.
Sleep in cheap hotel.
Spend whole next day just having a blast.
Leave around 7pm or so, with kids dressed for bed.
Loooooong drive home.
Get in and transfer kids to bed, clean car as much as possible, then completely crash and wake up way too early when the kids are up.

So that worked for us, pretty well.

We're planning to try the beach next month. My "big plan" is to do one overnight trip a month and try to continue that throughout the year. Whether it's visiting family and friends, or just trying out a new place, we really need to get away more. And I want the kids to get used to it too.

So now I'm coming up with a list of places we want to travel. The beach is one, and we can visit my brother and nephews while we're there. And we'll likely spend a week in Maine again, though that's a whole different kind of trip.

But otherwise....

Asheville wasn't so great for kids. Not horrible, but certainly not as good as Raleigh. Asheville, as far as we could tell, seems to be more of an adult place. Lots of adults having a blast in a cool town up high in the mountains. But not a whole lot for kids. Sure, there's a small museum that we really like (that has just the nicest staff!) and Carrier Park was nice, but we were actually able to get bored more than once on this short trip.

We're thinking the beach might offer a bit more. I mean, if you don't know what to do, just go play at the beach. Not that hard.

So I guess I need to go ahead and start researching areas. There are several cities within driving distance that I'd love to "discover":
Charlotte is 2 hours away (daytrip?)
Myrtle Beach is, I think, 4 hours.
DC is 4 hours.
I've never actually been to Tennessee or South Carolina.
And Greensboro, where we stopped on the way out, seems awesome. We might actually just do a regular day trip out there since it's only an hour and a half from here.

On top of this, I'm trying to do one daytrip a week with the kids, if only to get P used to not napping. I have several possibilities for these, including the Science Museum we went to last week, a couple farms, and a "beach" on Falls Lake.

Oh, and we want to try camping. Because we're nuts like that.

Okay, so this was basically a mind dump, haha! And a nice distraction from watering my plants. Seriously, I have to go do that now, my veggies need watering, but it's almost 100 degrees outside! Aaah!

As a side note, I've also decided to drop the kids off at a drop in daycare one morning a week and just have 2-3 hours to myself where I can actually drive around and do whatever I want to do. I did that this morning and spent like an hour and a half at a Goodwill looking at clothes and bought a few outfits. I think I'll try something a little nicer next time :) I also think I'll try going to a movie (by myself!) sometime soon. Ooo, and maybe getting a manicure. And meeting people for brunch. Or just sitting in a coffee shop with a nice book. Aaah, the possibilities are endless! As is, today is probably my easiest weekday in a loooooong time, with a couple hours to myself this morning, both of them down for a nap now, dropping them off while I do yoga in a couple hours, then I'm going out tonight with a friend for a nice dinner. It's like my own little personal vacation after a weekend family vacay :)

Okay, now onto my poor wilting plants!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On the Lighter Side...

Today we decided to all out embrace Summer and do something outside of the norm for us. I packed up the boys and headed off to a Kids/Science museum the next town over. It's half an hour away, but they're both old enough to really enjoy it now so I figured we could buy a membership and enjoy it through the summer, plus some vacations and weekends during the rest of the year.

On the way out P kept trying to ask me questions. While we love his inquisitive nature, after several minutes of "how do trees grow?" and "what's inside hair?" and "what bugs eat poop?" you find yourself a bit brain dead. I instructed him that I was unfamiliar with the journey there so I'd have to pay extra attention to the road this time and he couldn't use me as a human encyclopedia at the moment. As if he would listen.


"Yes P?"

"What would happen if you had 16 babies?"

"Hehe, well then I guess I'd be a Duggar!"


"Nevermind, it was a silly joke."

"I know what would happen!"


"If you had 16 babies you'd need 16 boobs!"


"And then your whole body would be covered in breastes!"


"I say breastes. I don't say gooses because it's really geese. But I say breastes."


Yeah, um.... yeah.

A minute later...


"Yes P?"

"Cars don't have bums."

"Uh, no, no they don't have bums."

"But they do have faces! And look how happy they all are!"

And then like another minute later.


"What is it?"

"Do you like penises?"

"...uhhhh... I.... I don't even know how to answer that one."

"Come on mommy, do you? Do you like penises?"

"I.... I mean, a penis is something you need, and you have it, and I'm glad that you have something you need, so in that sense then yes?"

"I don't like penises."


"But I KNOW you like penises!"

"I'm done talking now."

Yeah, so that was the drive over. And yes, I was laughing, once I got over the fear that no matter what I said I would be scarring my child for life.

We bought the membership and spent a whole 7 hours there, skipping naps and eating junky overpriced food from their shop. It was fun and we totally plan to do it again in a couple weeks.

The right home was hard as I'm not used to rush hour, and both of the kids were off. P had a tantrum while I was cooking dinner but the poor thing was yawning and rubbing his eyes so it's not like I could really blame him at all. Dinner was eggs, veggie sausage, milk, water and a plate of peach slices, strawberries and blueberries. Needed to try to get something a little healthier into them before bed!

Nik took A again tonight, while was nice for all of us. And I got to cuddle my sweet P until he was asleep, which didn't take long at all. There's nothing better than watching your child fall asleep with a smile on his face :)

Here's hoping the rest of the summer is all in the same vein!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


So far so good, where summer is concerned. Granted, yesterday I had "one of THOSE" mornings, but only due to external, silly things that all would have been just a small nuisance by itself (just several of them within the same timeframe...).

The kids are cheerful and happy and being off our normal schedule so far hasn't been so bad. In fact, P is actually really excited about this summer, and Ambrose is loving having his brother with him.

I think I'm the only downer here...

I'm not sure entirely what it is, but I'm a bit depressed.

Perhaps it's because I'm watching the boys grow up in front of me. P ending preschool, A beginning it soon, both getting bigger and more independent....

And perhaps it's all the uncertainty involved with child #3, especially given that we were so certain that we'd have a child #3 through adoption by this summer and now that's extremely unlikely to happen. Even if it is by our choice, it's still a dream we had that won't come to fruition.

And on that note, perhaps I'm worried about trying to conceive, about wasting money and time and ending up seeing a gazillion negative tests again and again.

Or maybe it's that my birthday is next month, and as silly as it sounds I'm actually a little worried about turning 29 because thus will begin the slow (or quick?) countdown to the end of my twenties. Oh, sure, 30 seems extremely young objectively and many, if not most, of my friends are in their 30's and 40's and I consider them to be young. But me as a thirtysomething? I... I'm just having trouble imagining that. It might mean I'll actually have to grow up or something. Unfathomable!

And then there's all this stuff I have to plan and don't really want to, like hiring an electrician and planning Nik's birthday and father's day, and planning trips, and making a schedule for things we're doing this summer. I like having my schedule pretty much set in stone, allows me to just live my life all relaxed like without having to actually think about what I'm doing that day.

And then, to round this out, there's the possibility that all the work I'm doing (cutting out coffee and melatonin, weaning myself off domperidone, chugging raspberry leaf and begging my uterus to work again) might actually be paying off and the funk I'm experiencing could be entirely based on hormones. I'm rather sensitive to hormones and it's been over 2 years since any of my crazy female hormones have affected me for more than an afternoon. If my body is gearing up to start cycling again I could very well be currently flooding with hormones.

No matter what it is, though, I really hope this passes sometime soon. It's lasted way too long and I'm too old to be this emo!

Monday, May 23, 2011


I got P ready for bed, a rare treat for us as I'm usually rocking A to sleep.

I was putting away the last of P's books as he dressed himself. Suddenly he stopped and turned to me.

"I have something important to tell you."

"Oh? What is it?"

"Everynight I have dreams."


"I have dreams that you die."

I had to stop then, and turn to fully look at my very little boy, look at his worried, open eyes, honest and searching. It took me a second to find my words.

And we spoke then about his feelings and his first mother and how his experience as an infant is affecting him now, and how to help process his fears and emotions.

And then we went about our night, reading and cuddling and kissing him goodnight as he smiled sweetly and drifted off into a blissful slumber.

I can't imagine what it would be like for that child if he lived in a home where he couldn't speak about his history openly. And I'm so, so glad that we've reached a place where he has the verbal ability to communicate just about everything he needs to, as well as the ability to reason and understand what we're trying to communicate.

And above and beyond it all, I'm so grateful that he trusts us. So, so grateful.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Still Normal

Before I was a parent, I thought I knew it all. I would NEVER do x, y and z. Ever. Not even think about it.

Who could ever lose their temper and yell at an innocent toddler?

Who could put off changing a wet diaper until finding a more convenient location?

Who on Earth would breast feed in public, without a cover? And a toddler no less!

And how could people be so wrapped up in their children to the point that they are pulled completely out of their former lives?

And then I had kids.

Yeah, I think the story is the same for just about every mom.

"I would never" always comes back to bite you in the butt. Oh, sure, you can probably keep maybe half of those things you said you'd never do, but the other half? Dude, it happens.

Thing is, once you're a parent you change. Your worldview changes and you feel so many different emotions at such intensities as you never would have expected. You suddenly find things you used to enjoy to be incredibly dull, and things you used to loath suddenly seem like the best thing ever. You grow and shift and change in ways you could not possibly anticipate.

And yet... you're still normal.

You're still a human being.

Your intelligence and strength doesn't suddenly increase, and you aren't suddenly gifted with super human powers.

You don't suddenly know everything and you certainly aren't all powerful.

You're just a normal, run of the mill person who happens to be in charge of the upbringing of another human being. And most likely, no matter what choices you make when it comes to that upbringing, that tiny human being will probably grow up just fine.

And of course, those of us who are raising tiny human beings happen to have opinions on how everyone else should raise their tiny human being.

What if spanking makes them violent? What if too much TV makes them dumb? What if spoiling them makes them useless to society?

And I get that. I get that people worry, and we should worry to some extent. Some very awful things have been the norm until enough people questioned and fought against it.

Even so, I get very, very perturbed when people pull out "blame the victim" type thinking and start to blame the parents for any tragedy that occurs.

That teenager wouldn't have had to endure hate mail on the internet if her parents had protected her like they were supposed to!

The mother must have been doing something wrong while she was driving or else her son wouldn't have been hurt!

There must be a reason that something bad happened to this minor... blame the parents!

And I used to get caught up in that type of thinking too....

I used to wonder why there was so much of an issue with teen sex, drug use, gangs etc. And then I'd wonder about all the teens playing video games 24/7 or being jerks online or just plain ole being annoying at the mall.

Why weren't their parents stepping in to stop this kind of behavior?

So, yeah, I don't have a teen, but I do have a 5 year old. A child old enough to have thoughts and opinions, to have mannerisms, preferences, personal relationships, likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams. A child who marches to the beat of his own drum.

And suddenly I realize that it's not as easy as one might think.

Children aren't robots, to be given orders and expected to obey without hesitation. They're human beings. And they don't just grow physically and academically as they age, they need to grow mentally, emotionally and socially. They need to test limits, try and err, fail and make mistakes, succeed and bask in glory. Sure, there are a lot of things you can do to help them out, but at some point you just have to realize that they are their own little person and they can't hide behind your legs forever.

Not entirely sure why I'm thinking about this today. I guess it could be that the boys are getting bigger so quickly. Or maybe the plethora of "when I have kids I'll never" and "If I were her/his mom I'd" statements I've been hearing.

Alright, now I'd better hurry and relax, before the boys are up from nap. It's a Sunday so Ambrose is slated to make an early appearance...

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Sorrow...

Today was the last day of preschool....

There was crying. There were angry outbursts. There was a lot of chocolate and other treats to help throughout the past few days. There were angry thoughts and selfish words. There was a lot of sulking and time alone spent being angry and upset.

And then there was Paxton, who handled it just fine.

Yeah, so, here I expected that the start of Kindergarten would be the thing kicking me in the @$$, but no, the end of preschool totally got to me.

I broke down crying a couple days ago, my last day as Helping Parent, as I washed the bowls after snack time.

This is my last time washing these bowls...

And that was enough to send me over the edge.

"Blues Away" tea and yoga and television and oodles of chocolate and talks with Nik... yeah, they've helped.

But there's still that sorrow...

He's not a baby anymore. Not really a "little kid" anymore. He's a regular kid now. A school-ager. He can read and write and do very basic math, and he knows how to work his way in society without issue. He speaks his mind and has his own preferences and fits perfectly in the world. I can let him play outside by himself without having to check on him, I can let him play downstairs all morning while I sleep, I can let him prepare a lot of his own food. He's a big boy now. And that phase of his life, that "pre-kid" phase, that extended baby phase... it's over.

Also he has two big, grown up teeth coming in. WTH?


To make matters worse, I think I may be weaning Ambrose.

Oh, I don't WANT to wean Ambrose.

I just want to be off Domperidone.

I've been on it for well over 2 years now, and there aren't enough long term studies for me to feel very comfortable with that. I've also heard (though it may not be true) that extended use may permanently harm your uterus, which would be fine if I could give up this dang blasted desire to birth a child someday.

Thing is, I want to get pregnant at some point, and I really want to get as many drugs out of my body as possible. I've exchanged coffee for green tea, which took several awful days of withdrawal. And switched an herbal sleeping pill, with Valerian and the like, for my old melatonin which went a lot faster than I anticipated. So of the 3 things I was taking in daily that could harm/stop ovulation I have only the one left: domperidone.

As a prolactin, the dom can just outright stop ovulation. In fact, when I started taking it in early '09, at 40mg/day, I stopped having a cycle immediately even though I was only getting drops of milk. It's entirely possible that I could have had my cycle back while lactating if I were doing it naturally, but it seems the dom itself is what's keeping that at bay.

I've been weaning myself off it, little by little, and I'm down from 120mg/day to 30mg/day, a huge drop. I want to be done with it completely within the next couple weeks.

Well, I mean, that's the plan anyway...

And then my sweet 19 month old little baby reaches for me, squeezing his fists and crying "na-na? na-na?" and we go to lay on my bed together and he laughs and claps as I lift my shirt and then he latches and then... he pulls off. And stares at it. And pokes it. "Na-na?" he asks. He sucks some more, and then pulls off again only to stare more intently before declaring "uh-oh!"


I don't want to wean him. I really, really don't. I am starting to stuff myself with Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle and I'm considering upping my oatmeal intake to twice a day instead of once.

This morning instead of my normal morning stiff b@@bs I had normal, floppy ones. Not saggy like empty socks or anything, just normal and not hard as a rock. I still heard several good gulps but it wasn't our normal 15-20 minutes morning nursing session (our only long nursing session of the day at this point as the rest are pop-on, pop-off).

Thing is, I KNOW he doesn't necessarily need it. I mean, he loves it and it certainly helps his nutrition and growth. But he's eating and drinking much more like a regular kid now, with meals and snacks and a wide variety of fruit, cheese, beans, rice, bread and a few other things. And he can drink cow's milk and kefir and other drinks, and he LOVES water.

So it's not a nutritional thing... but he still loves it. And I still love it.

And in the morning when I go and get him and he's all groggy and sad and I change his diaper as he whines on the mat, and then plop him in the bed beside me...

And then his eyes start to really open as I lift my shirt and put him to the breast.

And I rub his arms and legs and cheeks and neck, and he strokes my belly and arm and we look into each other's eyes and silently say "hello, I've missed you."

That's going away.

That's ending.

And I know it has to end, and I know this is a perfectly okay time for it to end, and I even know that I can just suck it up and keep taking the non-FDA approved drug and produce a ton more milk, at least for the morning. But it feels like this is what needs to happen.

I'm just hoping that the herbs help and that he can keep getting at least SOME milk.

I'd like to believe I'm a superwoman who can not only make milk from nothing, but also continue to make milk while spontaneously conceiving my next child. What, you've never had a crazy goal?


So, on this day of whininess and funks, when all my kids want to do is run and laugh and play and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sob for an hour, what are my plans? Hmmm... I think Chuck-E-Cheese and then a date with my husband. Because I'm sooooo in the mood for it all :-P

(For the record, I don't stay in funks very long and I'll probably be peppy and happy by Monday at the very latest, just in time to go to the farm and begin our Summer O' Fun. But for right now I'm definitely feeling super weepy!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Welcome to Confusion Land

P is in a tough place. This week marks the end of preschool. He'll be losing his familiar routine, along with familiar faces and places. No more Miss L or Miss J or Miss S. No more music time with the other Miss L, nor snack around the little table, nor Weather Wizard. No longer will he be able to time his day perfectly by the clock. No longer will he have the same set of friends he's known for a year, some longer.

My little boy will have a summer of fun with me and Ambrose, and then it's off to Kindergarten.

Oh, sure, he'll have fun in kindy. He'll make new friends, have a new routine, new teachers, new experiences, etc. And to top it off, he'll be in this school for the next SIX years. He'll double in age from entry to exit. Talk about stability!

Even so, it's a loss. Another hard, drawn out, sorrowful loss.

And he's feeling it.

And, even worse, he's showing it.

Anger, defiance, even some aggression, and of course a thick layer of five year old attitude.

We spoke a bit today about it, after he had a very, very rough day at school. He's honestly afraid that when he goes to kindy he'll no longer be a little boy and thus no longer be OUR little boy and either we'll die or he'll have to move out. I guess that's what changes mean to him, that EVERYTHING changes, that the parental figures leave you, that your life is in complete turmoil and there is no joy or hope.

Poor guy.

He seemed happier once we got to the root of the problem, but obviously that's not even close to the end of it. This will be drawn out over the next several months, until school starts again and he gets settled back in to his new routine.

He'll love kindergarten. He just doesn't believe me when I tell him that.


When talking to P, I brought up his adoption. I was talking about how confusing it is, to both lose a great thing and gain a great thing at the same time.

From an outside perspective Paxton did nothing but gain.

He was an orphan! Alone and scared in a crowded orphanage! Malnourished and barely able to walk! He was frightened, shy, and not doing well at all in his environment, and his prospective life looked bleak. Then, suddenly, he was adopted by a middle class American couple and voila, instant happy American kid! Right? Right?

Uh, no. No, no, no.

You see, even after P lost his first family and his home and his village and his native tongue, he still had more to lose. When we adopted him he lost a lot. He lost his whole country! His typical diet, the kids he recognized, the beds he slept in, the nanny that watched out for him! He lost the weather he was used to, the smells that were familiar, the sounds around him that he'd become accustomed to. He lost an entire life.

But, of course, in the flip side he gained a new life. A life with health care and proper nutrition, personal attention, personal possessions, parents to read him stories and kiss his owies and hug him tight, grand parents and uncles and aunts and cousins, a church, a house, a yard, a room of his own with a soft clean bed. And, honestly, he was happy about a lot of it even then and did truly thrive in it.

And thus we get to the confusing part.

He lost. He grieved. He gained. He rejoiced.

All at the same time. Not an even cut, "the loss ends here/the gain starts here" but a long, painful, not-completely-done-yet overlapping. The loss and gain are mixed in together, intertwined, competing. Strong emotions that don't cancel each other out.

And that's where he is again. The loss of preschool, and all that comes with it, and the gain of kindergarten. He's feeling it, the tide of emotions. The grief of loss, the joy of a new beginning. He's excited and mad and sad and happy and angry and frustrated and exuberant and cheerful, all within a couple minutes.

As the summer wears on the loss of preschool will, hopefully, wane a bit. He's older now, we can talk about loss, and he can compartmentalize enough to put it aside for a fun day at the farm.

We're in the thick of it now, though. And it's rough and I'm just hoping that he survives the week at school, and that everyone else survives him, because man he is hurting right now.


For my own part, I was trying to give P examples of the loss/gain dynamic.

I mean, an obvious one is moving to a new house, or even getting a new bed. But of course the first one I came up with was watching my boys grow up.

I told him how hard it is, how confusing it is, that I see my little boys growing. On the one hand, I so, so miss my little babies. My toddler Paxton napping heavily on my chest, fitting easily in my arms, learning new words and giving me his first truly happy laughs. My tiny Ambrose asleep and nursing beside me in the bed, laying limp as I change his teeny diapers and dress him, giving me his first real smile, peeping out from his Maya Wrap. And then there's my big boys, running and playing and talking and laughing and doing. And then there's the boys they're going to be, reading and writing and going to school and falling in love and learning to drive and leaving us. And on the one hand I'm so, so proud of how they're coming along, so proud of where they're going, but Oh God it hurts sometimes when I think about the the fact that I'll never be able to give Baby Paxton a kiss on his sleeping cheek ever again, or nestle Baby Ambrose in his Moby for a long walk in the park. I miss my babies so bad it hurts, so bad I'm tearing up, and yet I'm so joyful for them as they are now and so excited to see how they grow.

It's confusing in that it's both painful and joyous. And that confusion is just a part of human life. Hopefully, though, P's life will be spared too much more confusion.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Adoption #3 and our Pro/Con Lists

I know, I know, it's pretty obvious by now that Adoption #3 is called off. As I've written previously, it's now in to "oops adoption" territory, meaning that we're still open to it if the perfect situation comes along but otherwise we're not really going to pursue it. I'm still looking at adoption situations and we're still signed with a couple of referral services, but we're mostly just letting the situations come in and go out, seeing if they feel absolutely right and not pursuing them otherwise.

Nik and I have been talking a lot, like a lot a lot, about our family building. I've actually gotten quite naggy with him and outright demanded more participation and input. I don't like being the one who makes all the big decisions and does all the research and just has to sell it to him. Yeah, I get that some marriages can work like that, but I don't want my marriage to work like that. And Nik agrees, so now he's doing his own research and starting to actually bring something to the table (fact wise, he's always been fine sharing opinions!).

Right now we're talking about two things: 1) how heavily should we pursue child #3 and 2) should we just stop now?

#2 has been hard to discuss, like really insanely hard, but we are actually discussing it now instead of outright saying "OMG noooooo!!!!"

And thus, in an effort to clear out my own mind, I present the pro/con list when it comes to our various decisions.

Continuing on with Adoption #3:
Pros- We have a lot of time, money and energy already invested
I could go right from nursing Ambrose to nursing the next one
There are still many babies out there in need of homes
We could really find the absolute perfect situation, for both us and the child's first family
Cons- Starting to really want Ambrose to grow up a bit more before a new baby comes home
Thinking I want a break from nursing sometime soon and want to be off domperidone
Costs are rising and we don't like the ethical dilemmas this brings in ($10K in BM expenses sounds really coercive)
Travel, at an indeterminate time, for an indeterminate length of time, with small children
Social workers in our home, again, and another set of various legal documents
A third first family relationship to navigate

Pursuing Natural Fertility Treatments:
Pros- We'd probably get healthier in the process, if nothing else
Goes along with our lifestyle and what we're comfortable with
Not as much monitoring, tests, expensive drugs
Lower cost
On our own terms, where we feel in control
We have probably another decade of potential fertility for this to work
Cons-Less of a guarantee
Could be a huge waste of time, money and energy
Without monitoring, might mess up our hormones and bodies

Stopping at 2 kids:
Pros-We have two healthy, happy, well adjusted boys and another child might "tempt fate"
Our sons have a wonderful, rich brotherly relationship and truly love each other
We have one adult per child
In another year or so, we might be done with diapers, baby gates, choking hazards, etc
They're both sleeping through the night
They're getting to a point where we might be able to start traveling and doing more things
We're getting more dates and free time now, without a small baby
It's easier for others to babysit only two children at once
Would be able to afford more per child, and more for our household, with only 2 kids
Cons-Even if we stop now, we could very well change our minds later on
We're more likely to regret not having another child than having another child
We've always wanted a larger family
It still feels like someone's missing
I still want to experience pregnancy and birth
As bad as it sounds, I'd like at least the possibility of someday having a daughter
No more baby fingers or baby slings or tiny cloth diapers or little baby coos or first words...

So this came off a lot more jauntily than planned. In short, we've decided to try more natural fertility treatments to try and conceive #3. In some ways that allows us to leave #3 up to fate, you know? Though ask us again in a year when we're going in for an IUI :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Well, that was... uh......

Today was consult day, the much anticipated and worried-about day of visiting a fertility clinic and going "hey, can you put a baby in me?"

The morning started early, with P peering around our door at 6:10 and waiting until I looked at him before he went back to bed. I tried to do that myself, but I guess my body finally got over the coffee withdrawal (mostly) and my mind woke right up. I showered and dressed and took the time to not only make my oats and tea, but do some morning yoga and stretches. It was pleasant.

The kids got up and we got them ready for the day, then my parents arrived. My mother stayed with A while my father followed me to P's school, where I left the grandfather and grandson playing on the swings until it was time for class.

I rushed off to the clinic where I met Nik, who was dutifully filling out paperwork.


They had him give them information on the phone, AND had us both fill out 9 page patient histories online. But there's always more paperwork, isn't there?

The room was nice, furnished beautifully with a fountain even. Obviously they aren't hurting for money. There was only one other client there and we didn't speak. So no big, crowded room of angry women like I'd been dreading, just one normal woman waiting to be called back.

So we sit and chat and fill things out, and finally, right at the time our appointment is supposed to be over, we're called back. We go to a small office and find... posters for birth control. Oh, and an add for stomach surgery on the desk. Nothing about IUI or varicoceles or ultrasounds, or anything that would be useful to us. But whatever.

So then the doctor comes in.

After a quick greeting, he asks "what are your wishes?"

I guess we looked confused because he finished for us, "you want to get pregnant."

Um, yeah. Yeah we do.

So then we rattle off our history: TTC'd starting from honeymoon 5.5 years ago, discovered problems on Nik's side 5 years ago, have only used protection for like 1 out of the past 5.5 years, have two sons through adoption, am nursing the younger son, have been lactating for 2 years thanks to domperidone and have not had a menstrual cycle since I started lactating. Nik has low testosterone, I was suspected of having PCOS, and definitely have lactational amenorrhea. We want to find out if it's even possible to conceive.

So he finds out that Nik had had a semenalysis done there 5 years back and he runs off to get the results. Nik and I wait and chat while he's gone. I joke that it's like a date: just us, no kids, doing something all grown up and adult. We both joked that we could have watched a movie in the waiting room giving how long we were out there. It was nice to be able to spend time with just him.

The doctor comes back in with Nik's old results.

And he diagnoses Nik.... with five year old results.

Tells us we need IVF, but "might be able to get away with a few IUIs".

Says Nik has a blockage and that the DNA is probably all weird. Tells him he needs to eat more organic foods and exercise, which we do now but didn't then. He also tells us we need juice. A special, yuppy juice. Yeah, he said yuppy.

Of course he tells me I need to stop breast feeding ASAP, then come in for an ultrasound on my uterus to make sure it's okay after all that breast feeding.

Also, Nik mentioned the low testosterone and without even checking his old data, let alone requesting new data, he pulls out his pad and writes a prescription for Clomid.


Before he dismisses us I ask about a varicocele. Could that be causing the issue? And, um, well I still don't really know how he answered. It was more of a "we'll need to do IVF anyway so it doesn't matter if he has one or not."

Again, hwah?

So finally the doctor heads off with recommendations that Nik get another semenalysis and that I stop breast feeding, gots to stop that breast feeding, and then he has a nurse come and sell us juice.

25 fluid ounces for $50.

I kid you not.

Seriously, we went in for a consult on fertility possibilities and the guy sold us a $50 bottle of juice.

Aaaaanyway, Nik's all signed up for another semenalysis and we'll see how that goes. Really, what we want right now is A) another semenalysis and B) a check for a varicocele. So we got one of those. And some yummy juice. I guess. I'll never drink it myself because it's only for Nik, to create super sperm for IVF I guess.

Hopefully we'll have some answers on the semenalysis in a couple weeks and then we can proceed from there, wherever we may go. And I think it might be to another clinic. Or an acupuncturist. Or perhaps that lovely naturopath who specializes in infertility that I found online. We'll see.

Either way... that better be some damn good juice, omg!


As a side note, after this I just barely had time to rush home and grab A, stop my mother from pulling up all my little corn ("But it looks just like a weed!"), re plant my poor little corn, rush over to P's preschool, and sit my butt down for a nice Mother's Day brunch. Though there wasn't much sitting given that A wanted to run and scream and be chased. Not that I mind all that much :) I love my silly little boys!

Monday, May 9, 2011

And around and around and around again...

P's been, well, um..... okay he's been really p'ing me off lately. Bouncing off the walls, waking us up early, not listening, impulsive, loud, obnoxious, lots of attitude, outright mean, grumpy, etc.

Normal stuff, really. I mean, he's a 5 year old boy who's figuring out his world, and on top of it he's nervous about preschool ending and starting kindergarten this year. I can't blame him too much, but daaaaang if he didn't try his darnedest to ruin Mother's Day weekend for me! Having him help pick out flowers and plant a small garden around the mailbox was like pulling teeth, or yanking a donkey by the reins. I actually sent him away from me at a couple points, even though it was supposed to be our special alone time together, just because I couldn't handle his angry, whiny, self centered attitude anymore.

Looking back on it, I think I'll pick and choose from the memory of our alone time: Him picking out just the perfect flowers for me and him helping to lay them out then water them with a hose. We'll just ignore the other 95% of it. It's how I prefer to remember a lot of our times together :-)

But anyway, the thing is, he's been tough again lately. And this goes in spells, comes and goes, and we're used to it. But it's still frustrating.

This morning I was exhausted and Ambrose was exhausted after P woke us both up AGAIN long before he was allowed to get out of bed. We were so, so tired and both cranky and finally, since Nik was around longer today, I decided that we should all take a family walk around the block.

I use walks to talk to P, half because I'm calmer with him while out in public, and half because it keeps Ambrose quiet. Also we could all use the exercise.

We were talking about him waking us up and we got the normal "I don't know why I do it" and "I'm sorry" and "but I just wanted a cuddle!" (which he didn't ask for).

As we were walking P brought up another thing he's been talking about a lot lately, geese. Our neighborhood is a nesting ground but we've only seen one family with goslings so far. P launched into his standard question: what would happen if I stomped on the mommy and daddy goose?

I was annoyed.

I had answered this question a million times already, even with small variants trying to figure out how to make him stop asking.

Usually I'd throw in things like "that would kill them" and "the baby goslings would probably die without their parents around to care for them" and "that's mean" and "we don't talk about killing other living beings" and, well, other things.

It truly, honestly never occured to me....

In all those weeks he's been asking this question, over and over again, with that same, damn smile on his face, that disturbing smile, that disturbed smile...

I was huffing about it this morning, exasperated, "Why do you keep asking me about this? I've answered this question a dozen times already!"

Nik looked at me like I'm an idiot and proclaimed, "uh, honey, it's just another processing thing."

A processing thing? I wondered

"It happened to him."

He stated it flat out, but it took a minute to sink in. "It happened to him." "What would happen if I stomped on the mommy and daddy goose?" "It happened to him." "Would they die?" "It happened to him." "What would happen to the baby goose? Would it be scared?" "It happened to him." "Can we take the baby goose and take care of it?" "It happened to him."

How did I not see this???

For weeks, maybe months, my son has been asking me about the death of parents and the well being of an orphan and I never caught on, and certainly didn't answer it how I should have. And that smile! That dang obnoxious fake smile! How could I not remember it? It's his fake smile, that he layers on protectively when he's talking about something that frightens him.


Mom fail.

So we talked. We dropped Nik off at the house, to deal with his vandalized car (sigh), and continued around the block. I didn't waste any time.

"Paxton, are you thinking about your Amaye and Abaye?"


"What are you thinking about?"

"They died and I miss them."

"Is that why you keep talking about the geese?"


Then, tying it into our big problem...

"Paxton, when you wake up in the morning.... do you think we died?"


"And you're waking us up to check on us?"

"Yeah, I don't want you to die and I'm scared so I go to see you."

Oh, wow.... wow....

We walked and talked and figured out a plan: He'd try cuddling with a stuffed animal when he was scared. We'll see how that works.

In the meantime, dang. How did I not catch on to this? I mean, seriously? With this kid, I didn't hear the subject of death and immediately connect the dots? He was willingly waking me up every morning without fail, just to see me wake up, and I thought it was either and accident or malicious in nature?


Well, at least we have it all figured out... this time around.

P was A LOT calmer once we started really talking and hitting on the actual issues. Hopefully that's the end of this saga.

On another note, maybe I should write a note to myself saying "Your kid has been to Hell and back and even though you might forget it, he never will." Just to remind myself that sometimes "normal" parenting won't do the trick with a kid who didn't have a normal start in life.

Okay, now to go join my boys, who are playing outside as I type this and having a blast together :)

Friday, May 6, 2011


Next Wednesday Nik and I will be going in for a consult with a fertility specialist.

We don't really know what to expect, probably just some questions and setting up more appointments for tests, maybe some recommendations and fact sheets. We've already had to fill out our medical histories online and we know it's only scheduled for half an hour.

But as any infertility blog or forum will tell you, going to the clinic is an experience in and of itself.

How many blogs have I read detailing a person's experience in the waiting room? How many forum posts about nurses and receptionists and insurance snafus?

It's like a right of passage, that awkward, uncomfortable, possibly gut wrenching first visit to an RE.

Reading other's experiences I hear hope and excitement, and fear and embarrassment, and sorrow and frustration, and all possibly from one person in one meeting.

I read about judgmental eyes, long silences, and an air of desperation.

And I'm so, so nervous.

But the big emotion I'm feeling, other than nervous and anxious and a little curious, is guilt.

I feel guilty.

I feel like a cheater.

I'm a young, healthy, possibly fertile young mother walking into a room of infertile women only a few short days after Mother's Day.

And the kicker?

Right after my appointment I get to rush home and pick up my toddler, where he'll be playing with his beloved Gambi, and whisk him off to my older son's preschool to attend their Mother's Day brunch.

That's right, I'll be sitting there surrounded by people wishing to be mothers and then just a short hour after I leave the building I'll be receiving Mother's Day gifts as I sit beside an excited little boy, happy to show off his creations, holding a toddler on my lap as he gobbles down Goldfish and grapes.

And as happy as I am about this, I feel somewhat dirty, somewhat false.

Do I really belong there?

Short answer, of course, is yes. If we want to attempt a pregnancy, and we do, then we will need help. Oh, sure, we could try it with acupuncture and herbs, and we likely will, but we'd love it if we could have a few tests run first to figure out if there's anything majorly wrong (and potentially correctable) before we get into the ups and downs of TTC.

So, yes, we belong there.

And yet we don't belong anymore.

We were never completely destroyed by IF. We were knocked down, but not out. We only had a 25 month wait from when we started TTC to when we actually became parents, and though that seems like a long time on paper in IF terms it was hardly anything. We were successful in our efforts to adopt our first two children and we're coming at this from the angle of a family, a happy family, looking to add on. We're not desperate, at least not yet.

And from what I'm seeing, it looks like we'll be the odd ones out.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there won't be any tension in the air. Maybe the waiting room will be empty, or maybe the only other people in there will be totally at peace with their lives. Perhaps another person will be there with a small child and, if there are no ears around to be offended, we can chat about toddler-hood and potty training.

Or perhaps the whole experience, all 5-10 minutes of sitting there, will be enough to scare us off forever.

Guess we won't know until next week....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Remember that feeling of emptiness...

.... So you can embrace the love around you.






I was younger, heavier and childless. Married just over a year, infertile, and hopeless. And it was Christmastime.

I had thought I'd have a baby by then. I had married the previous October at age 23. My husband had been 21. It was 14.5 months post-wedding and I should damn well have been celebrating my first Christmas as a mother, cradling my newborn, named Arthur or Serah, as I shopped for bright red booties and silly baby hats.

Instead I was alone at a crowded bookstore, surrounded by strangers and noise, just trying to wade through the crowd and find presents. We had just received even more bad news in our adoption journey and I was barely holding on to the hope that maybe, just maybe, by the next Christmas I might be buying those silly hats.

In front of me there was a woman, older than me, and hasty. We were waiting in line at customer service. She seemed irritated and disgruntled, and she kept snapping at two children nearby, older kids and not swoon-worthy babies, who called her mom and chattered on and on.

She got to the front of the line. I never heard the question that was asked but I did hear her response: "I'm having a bad day! I have TWO KIDS to deal with!"

Emphasis hers.

Her words were easily heard by the children, who turned to look, smiles faltering, before going back to their childish nonsense.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

She took her children for granted. Openly. Loudly. She wasn't just unappreciative, she was downright vicious.

And I would so, so have loved to switch places with her right then. Because the thought of having THAT kind of problem? Two kids? Oh, honey, I could handle that...


The end of the next summer we received our referral. Shell shocked eyes stared out of a photograph, stuck haphazardly to our fridge. I spent months memorizing his face. I kissed his cheeks goodnight. I would stroke the photograph and wish and hope and pray that maybe, just maybe, this was it and that sometime soon we would be meeting this little person for real, holding him, loving him.

And days marched on and on and on, without word, without movement. Seconds crawled by and I knew he existed -- or did he? -- and he was on the other side of the world. Losing weight. Eating poorly. Sick. Scared. Angry.

And there was not a damn thing I could do to speed it all up so we could go and bring him home.


I had been pumping for months, night and day, on a schedule. I altered our son's schedule around it completely. I felt guilty, always guilty. And hopeless.

It was all up to fate, wasn't it? Whether we had a second child? We'd already been blessed with one, but would it happen again? I was pumping, and pumping, waking up at 4am every day, again at 7, pumping through breakfast lunch and dinner, pumping before bed and during nap, eating carefully, charting supply, taking cocktails of medication 4 times a day. And there was no guarantee there would ever be a baby to feed. I had all the emotions of a nursing mother, all the weepiness and all the bizarre euphoria, but no baby. Just a cold, emotionless pump.

Then there was an email. An adoption situation. A baby girl, preemie, just born. Were we interested? Yes!

We applied for the situation. And waited. And waited.

Normally we got our rejections while we were out somewhere. At a park or kid's museum, someplace where I could see it on my iPhone, hit "delete," and go on with my life.

This time? I was pumping. For the future baby. The Maybe Baby. The Feels-Like-It's-Impossible-He-Could-Ever-Be-Real baby.

And as I was creating nutrition for the child that may never be, I get an email. I check it. I read the words. I press the off button. I detach the pump. I stand up. I walk away.

I need to see my son. I need to see my hope.

I'm fumbling down the hall, trying to walk normally, listening to him playing with toys in his room, holding on to that, holding on to the present, the what is, holding on to the joy...

I make it halfway down the hall.

The sob grabs hold, so fierce and strong, and I cannot control it.

I feel my stomach contract, my face contort.

Oh God, the pain! Like my heart is being ripped in two!

I gasp to breath. In and out, in and out, in and out.

I feel my blood pressure dropping.

Finally having control of my feet again, I take another step forward, into sight of my beloved treasure. He looks up at me, quizzically. I smile. I get down and hug him. I read to him.

Later on I hit delete. And I move on. But, oh, it hurts.






Today I chased a toddler all around Target. He was shrieking and running as fast as his tiny legs would carry him, weaving around corners, hiding behind racks, and playing peek-a-boo behind pants in the men's section.

My heart was full of nothing but joy.

Oh, sure, I got some dirty looks.

How dare I let him run and make noise? How dare I encourage it no less?

Oh, I dare.


Today I looked into my preschooler's classroom window. His eyes locked with mine and his whole face lit up into a beautiful smile. My heart swelled. I knew I shouldn't bother him, but I couldn't help but smile back and wave.


Every day I hug them. Every day I tell them I love them. Every day I kiss them goodnight.

And every day, no matter what, I remember the pain. I remember what it was like to not have them in our lives, to wonder if they ever would be in our lives. I remember what it was like to feel the lack of someone important.

I remember that feeling of emptiness. I remember it well. And I'm fine with that. I want it that way. Because so long as I can remember that feeling of emptiness, I can also remember to embrace the love around me.

Even when I'm sitting on my butt checking Facebook, I can't help but fall in love all over again as I watch them play on the floor together.

Even as I fold clothes I can't help but laugh as the baby grabs a towel and pulls it over his head, his older brother laughing hysterically.

Even as I drop my older son off at preschool, I can't help but feel a little sorrowful that I have to say goodbye and want to linger just a little bit longer.

Even as I drop my younger son off at the YMCA nursery, I can't help but want just one more kiss blown my way, and another, and another.

And I know, logically, that I can't be a smothering mother, and I'm not really. All in moderation, right? They're very independent boys and I love that. But they're also cuddly and loving, and they don't doubt our love for them because we show them that love every day.

Some days I can't help but be grateful for all the pain and sorrow we went through for our boys, because I could very well have taken them for granted had they come into our lives easily. They are worth it, every bit of it, and more.

I only hope that I can always remember what it was like before we had them, so that no matter what I can always remember to love and appreciate them, as they deserve to be loved and appreciated.


Aaaaand, now I'm kind of hoping nap ends soon so I can cuddle my little guys :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What I've learned from the internet....

#1- If you cannot immediately conceive a child, you should automatically adopt.
#2- If you try any type of fertility treatment, ever, you are pretty much condemning orphans to an early demise.
#3- If you want to adopt, you are a horrible, selfish person for feeling entitled to another's baby.
#4- The first/birth/biological parent will always be perfect and deserves every chance in the world to raise their child...
#5- Unless it's a parent who has not considered making an adoption plan, is raising the child in a healthy household, and has the gall to make a parenting choice that you wouldn't. Then the child should be taken away and giving to someone who will really take care of them.
#6- Adoption is the most painful thing an adoptee or first parent could ever experience. Ever.
#7- Except for special needs children and older children. Because they need to be adopted.
#8- Except that when you adopt them you take away their rights and identity. They should be allowed to stay with their foster parents/orphanage/home country with no money for orphan care.
#9- If you are only willing to adopt a white kid, you care too much about looks an are a horrible person.
#10- If you are adopting a non-white kid then you obviously view the child as a commodity or fashion accessory and are a horrible person.
#11- Apparently only rich, old, infertile, white, heterosexual married couples adopt. Those evil bastards.
#12- If you pay birth parent expenses you are buying your baby.
#13- If you don't pay birth parent expenses you aren't supporting your baby's first mother.
#14- If your baby's first mother or father or grandparents or any other family member ever decides they want to parent, no matter the age of the child, then you should hand the child over and they will be better off for it.
#15- This isn't true with teen celebrities. A teen celebrity should lose all rights to her child immediately, in the womb if possible, because she's too young to raise the child.
#16- You should never let your child be unattended, never let them talk to strangers, never let them walk anywhere, monitor every activity, keep them from trying stunts on a playground, only feed them organic food, pay loads of money for special one-on-one activities, and start saving from birth (or before) to pay for their entire college education. This will prepare them well for the real world.
#17- If you are a drug addicted young woman with 5 children by different fathers, very little education, no money, no stable home, and possibly an undiagnosed mental illness, you should have every right to keep your children and raise them however you want.
#18- If you follow #16 to a T but at some point let your child go to a public restroom unattended, AND you don't feel like a horrible mother because of it, you should have your children taken away.
#19- All first parents hate their children and only used them to make $$.
#20- All adoptive parents hate their children and only use them to boost their ego.
#21- No one can ever love their children as much as I love mine. Just not possible. Also, I have all the answers to parenting any child in any situation.
#22- Must fully believe #21 in order to post on a parenting forum of any type.
#23- Open adoption is scary.... or it's necessary... or it's coercive... or it's all bubbles and light and happiness.... or it's too much work.... or it's less work... or, um.... internet is still out on this one...
#24- If you breast feed, you're a bitch. And you judge everyone. Also, you love exposing yourself publicly. And you're probably a Satanist on top of it.
#25- The internet is crazy and full of crazy and OMG the crazy.

Sometimes the best thing to do is either unplug the dang thing, or just sit back and enjoy the unintentional hilarity that ensues when personalities clash... or better yet, when personalities meld into one big, huge, self aggrandizing crazy party.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My little bean...

Ambrose will be 19 months in just a couple days. Nineteen glorious months...

And he's really a little boy now.

He talks all the time. Aside from dada and mama and bratha/pacton, we get chicken and chickie and cockadoodoo, and goose and bread and snap and eat and water and up and down and walk and play and ball and flower and tree and car and...

And so on and so on.

And we get phrases like "goodbye big dog!" or "outside ball-ball?"

He communicates well non-verbally too, so you can really hold little conversations with him.

He walks and runs and climbs and pushes and pulls and discovers everything.

He puts his dirty clothes in the hamper and his shoes in the closet.

He waves and says "hello" and "bye bye" to everyone he meets, making for a very loud walk in around the park.

He even tells jokes, coming to me over and over again with wide, worried eyes, grabbing his crotch and crying "poopoo!" in a worried voice, then laughs hysterically when I open his diaper to find it empty. He offers a cracker then snatches it away and giggles.

Today he fussed out some geese, pointing his little finger and telling them "no no no!" before going off on them in a long string of babble and half words.

He's... amazing.

And normal.

And everything I could have ever dreamed of.


And because I can't leave Paxton out, I have to say that the boy is really READING in the past few weeks, like a switch turned on in his head. Mostly books with very simple words, and he gets a lot wrong, but he's trying hard and he's really starting to get there.

He helps round up the chicks every night from their run so we can put them back in the brooder, very carefully and calmly herding them and picking them up. They're petrified of Nik and I, but are very trusting of Paxton who is so, so gentle and loving. His chick sits calmly on his arm like a parrot, letting P stroke his neck and wings. P fusses at us if we scare the chickens. He's such a good care taker!